We’re well and truly moving into the cold, dark winter.
Mornings get darker, the sun starts to set around 4pm and the temperature begins to drop.
And with that comes something that can creep up on you unexpectedly at this time of year – back pain.
I’ve already started to hear the conversations from patients that they’re experiencing a few aches and pains in their lower back.
The type of aches that suddenly get a bit more annoying, nagging and painful on a daily basis - a bit like what’s been happening to one of our patients “Wendy”.
Wendy has suffered with an aching lower back for a few months now and last winter her back got so bad, it stopped her from taking her three dogs out for a long walk on Christmas day – something she does each year with her family before sitting down for Christmas dinner.
And because Wendy didn’t want her lower back pain to get in the way of her family tradition this year, she thought she’d book an appointment with her doctor.
The GP advised her that her lower back was very tight and sent her straight to see a physio at the NHS.
But the thing is with the NHS, all they did was give Wendy a few exercises and no hands on treatment.
Which meant she never understood what was REALLY going on and why her back pain was still there.
So as well as doing exercises that weren’t even making a difference, Wendy also went out and bought a new mattress hoping that would fix the problem, as well as dosing up on painkillers for days.
But the problem is all they do is mask the pain, NOT take it away!
If you’re like Wendy and struggling to put your finger on why your lower back pain gets worse this time of year, I can assure you, you’re not alone.
In fact, this is something that many men and women aged 50+ come to see us with at the clinic.
So what’s one of the reasons why your back pain gets worse around this time of year?
Here’s the thing - the long winter months and sustained periods of inactivity can be the root cause of what I call sudden ‘lifelong back pain’.
You see, if your muscles and joints get a long rest in the winter, there’s a chance they will grow weak and stiff by the time spring comes around when you feel like being more active.
And if you’ve not been as active as you were during the spring and summer time when it gets colder, then this could risk your back pain getting even worse!
So, with that in mind here’s a big tip to help you avoid making this mistake: seize any and every opportunity you have during the winter to get active and keep your body mobile and vital muscles strong.
Wrap up warm and go for a 20 minute walk. Walk with friends and grab a coffee to keep you warm. Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. Set a reminder to move and do a stretch every hour, even from your office chair.
Don’t let back pain creep up on you this winter.
P.S. If back pain is troubling you right now, or if you’ve noticed any aches and pains starting to creep up on you, click here to download our FREE tips report with quick and simple tips to help ease low-back pain: http://www.paulgoughphysio.com/back-pain